Anger management issues with 4.5 yr old(7 Posts)
We are a military family and have moved a fair amount in the last couple of years. From Germany to UK in 2014 then 2015 to India and then this summer to Canada. My 4.5 year old has always been "spirited" and went through a very bad biting and scratching phase but seems to be better. I have noticed in the last year she gets incredibly frustrated and throws mega tantrums when she hits me and scratches and screams going puce in the face and screaming. She shouts things like she will throw me in the dustbin and I am mean and she will cut off my head and I am ugly. I have tried everything from being patient and cuddles to downright furious and putting in her bedroom even the odd smack but nothing seems to work and it is getting worse. She often takes out her frustrations on her younger sister who is 2 which I hate and what troubles me is the younger one is picking up on this abysmal behaviour and so I am desperate to get her to stop. I have just found a part time job and so employed an au pair for the first time which is wonderful as the children will then learn German from her and me but after just one week the au pair sounds like she wants to leave and she says she cannot cope with collecting the 4 yard old as she kicks up such a fuss and takes off her seat belt and I think she is terrified of her. I feel so ashamed and miserable about the situation which is sad as was so excited about finding some work and getting some extra money coming in. I know all 4 year olds throw tantrums but I have never seen anything like her behaviour in the last week and I am at a loss what to do. My husband wants to take away her dummies and get strict but I also think she has been through a lot of upheaval and things like that should wait until she has been in school a little longer and calmed down but then am I spoiling her to make up for all the upheaval? Apparently she never behaves like this in school and so clearly just stores it up for with me and at home. I am going to have to cancel or move her extra-curricular activities now and put her in after school care until my husband can collect her as the au pair says she can't cope. I wish i could get her to see how destructive her behaviour is and that she is the one loosing out but she is only 4! I am also worried that putting her in to after school care at school might make things worse as she will feel "rejected"! I am going to start up a rewards for good behaviour chart again but it did not really work last time. I think she needs some counselling or anger management courses or something but I just wondered if anyone had any tips for helping her cope or suggestions of what I can do as it is driving us all bonkers and making for a very unhappy household.
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Hi, it sounds really hard, you must feel so drained. I'm reading a book right now called '10 days to a less defiant child', although I'm not finished it is really good and sounds like it might be right for you too, there are very similar things described. My 3.5 year old gets very angry also, recently we have been trying to engage with her more in general, show respect for her point of view (however unreasonable), and to make her/show her how to calm herself down in her room and it seems to work. But I think there are different things that work for different kids, that's why the book is so good. Anyway, keep looking for help and advice, and be willing to challenge yourself also, I am sure you will turn a corner sooner or later.
I am in a very similar situation with my 3.5 year old. We have recently moved and I am about to have another baby. Over the last few weeks she has hit and scratched me and finds it really hard to calm down. At first, I tried to put her on her own to calm her down but it just seemed to make it worse. I now stay as close as I can to her and talk calmly. I have also had to hold her hands for a bit. I have found taking her outside helps to calm her. It's very hard and very upsetting. My friend has also recommended a book called Incredible Years. I hope things get better for you soon.
I also have a 4.5 year old, he also seems to get very angry sometimes - he hits out, hits or bites his brother (3yo), is defiant and rude. He says he doesn't love me, doesn't want a mummy or a brother, wants us to go away, doesn't like us etc etc
I think this is reasonably normal for their age - I'm guessing she has just started school? Has she settled ok there? Tiredness and hunger always seem to make things worse here. In my opinion doing extra activities on top of school is probably too much.
I would stop any after school clubs/activities for now, do earlier bedtime and keep an eye on what she's eating at lunch. My son is a mega fussy eater so I do him a packed lunch and take a snack for straight after school too.
The thing I've found to have the most impact has been kind of love-bombing him though. Me and his dad have both made more effort to chat and spend quality time with him on his own and praise, praise, praise good behaviour.
We also try to enforce just a few rules - being kind and listening to instructions are the main ones. I found asking ds to 'be good' was way too abstract, he needs specifics - e.g. " While we are walking ds, please stay beside the pram and hold my hand when we are crossing the road"
I realised I felt like I was constantly criticising him at times so now I try to ignore most stuff and really reinforce good behaviour.
It's most definitely the most challenging thing ive had to deal with so far as a parent, we aren't perfect and its baby steps but things are getting better slowly...
I'm no expert, but I think being strict or angry with her will make her worse. Children need firm, fair discipline.
I was bought up by a policeman in a very strict, rigid environment. I can sometimes deal with my own child's anger in the wrong way - by getting angry myself and shouting / screaming at her. However, kids mimic what they see. If you shout and use violence (even occasionally), they will think that behaviour is acceptable and it is not modelling/teaching her how to manage her emotions. I am really trying to change my approach.
Try to remain calm but firm when you discipline her. Model how emotions should be handled. Give as much love and hugs as you can when she does the 'right' thing or is not being naughty. Both you and your husband need to be on the same page with this. Spend lots of fun family time together whenever you can.
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